Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born in Ukraine. In 1861 his family was exiled to Northern Russia because of his father's political activities. Then in 1969, both of Conrad's parents died of tuberculosis, so he moved to Switzerland to live with his uncle. Conrad attended school in Kraków, but he dreamed of the sea, and in the 1870s he joined the French merchant marines. While working on a ship, Conrad made voyages to the West Indies and was even involved in arms smuggling. Eventually Conrad joined the British merchant navy and swiftly climbed the ranks. By 1886 he was commanding his own ship and was given British citizenship. It was at this time that he officially changed his name to Joseph Conrad. In 1894, at the age of 36, Conrad finally left the sea behind him, settled down in England, and began to write his famous stories.
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